-- North American Bastard Son --


I am the North American Bastard Son
Lookin' for roots, you know I'm findin' none
Restless and hungry with no sense of time
There was no room in the manger
For that mother of mine
But I can look in the mirror and tell you what's right
I hold my communion with the angels at night
Let your cup run over 'till it sticks to your lip [fist]
'Cause I can change it forever with just one little kiss

Oh, you talk about freedom and you cry about hope
With your hands in your pockets and your eyes on the Pope
Well I've searched through this world for my place in the sun
But no rest has a wicked man so I guess I must be one
Although you don't like me I've come here to stay
If you value your pride then get out of my way
And remember one thing as you walk through the door
That I was born as a bastard it's you that's the whore
Sometimes I'm down and sometimes I'm high
Well I can't live forever, but I'll live till I die!
Norwegians eat fish and the Chinese eat rice
But around here you live on hot dogs and advice
Advice from your office buildings, ten stories high
Where life is just something to sell or to buy
You're as loose with your money as you were with your thoughts
If I can't be persuaded I can surely be bought
Like everything else you were taught with your friends
The whole story's a lie from beginning to end
Sometimes I'm down and sometimes I'm high
Well I can't live forever but I'll live till I die!

  • Gavin's Woodpile quotes Tim Perlich of Now magazine:

    "While rooting around for previously unreleased Ugly Ducklings recordings to complete the forthcoming Ducktales cd package, Ducklings singer/songwriter Dave Bingham turned up a long-lost tape of a Sound Canada session the group cut in 1970 under the name Papa Grey. Among the material discovered on the eight-track cartridge in Oakville is a rockin' homage to the big rigs called Keep Truckin' and, perhaps even more intriguing, a song called North American Bastard Son, composed by an angry young folkie from Ottawa named Bruce Cockburn. The Ducklings, who shared bills at Yonge Street's old Electric Circus with Cockburn at the time, were impressed enough with the song they received as a demo in 1968 that they added it to their live set, then cut it two years later, but they never released the song. "
    -- Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • 5 October 2003:

    Lyrics finally put on site, thanks to Rob Caldwell who sent them in December 2002. :)

  • 30 October 2016:

    Lyrics corrected and submitted by Dave Bingham.

    Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.